ExtenSys Inc.   


The North York District of Toronto Hydro replaced their existing Automated Radio Dispatch System (ARDS) with a new private radio infrastructure, mobile computers and application software. They awarded the tender to ExtenSys Inc. in September 1995 to provide this new system.

ARDS was implemented by extending the existing Distribution Management System (DMS). This gives the operators of the distribution grid access to all information to plan and execute switching for planned maintenance and power restoration, as well as the ability to communicate with field crews using voice and data. The switching sequences, safety permits and trouble call information are sent as data messages to the field crews. All information from the DMS and from the new ARDS is available on a common set of work stations. Several radio dispatch positions are implemented in Operations.

An ARDS dispatch position is also provided for Field Services who handle electric water heater rental and maintenance, residential power problems, payment collection, service disconnection and occasional meter reading. The forms for these functions are dispatched as data messages to the field crews.

The ARDS system:

  • Provides reliable voice and data communications throughout the North York District
  • Connects to the existing Distribution Management System (EDICS - Electrical Distribution Information and Control System) and Customer Information Centre (CIC) system to automate communications from the customers through to the field crews and back again
  • Provides selective calling of vehicles by dispatchers. Only the selected vehicle(s) will receive the data or voice call
  • Provides selective calling of dispatchers and other mobiles by mobile operators using voice or data
  • Enables status messages from mobile operators to dispatchers Provides for voice telephone interconnect to and from designated mobile operators
  • Improves field crew productivity through the automation of Control Room and Field Service functions.

The new radio system operates through the same human interface as the existing Distribution Management System giving one user interface for management of the distribution grid and communications with the field crews.

The Role of ExtenSys

ExtenSys was the prime contractor for this project supplying new radio infrastructure, mobile computers to be mounted in the fleet, and software to control this equipment and connect with the other existing systems.

ExtenSys developed software to extend a DMS product to meet the software requirements. The DMS product, Centricity, was developed by CES International of Plymouth, Minnesota.

ExtenSys' responsibilities included:

  • Supplying and installing the EDACS trunked voice/data radio infrastructure from Ericsson Communications Canada
  • Supplying and installing mobile computers from Itronix Corp. in the fleet
  • Enhancing Centricity with new applications for radio communications, Operations work management using trouble calls, switching sheets and safety permits, and work management for Field Service using trouble calls, water heater orders, read orders, collection orders and reconnection orders
  • Providing project management.

The system went into service for voice-only users in late 1996, and went into voice/data service in 1998.


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